By Danny Dunn
With All-Star weekend in the rearview mirror, NBA teams can now focus on the trade deadline. Unlike other sports, a decent amount of trades actually get made in the NBA.
There have already been several trades throughout the NBA. Starting at the beginning of the season with the Oklahoma City Thunder trading forward Ersan Ilyasova to the Philadelphia 76ers for forward Jerami Grant. This trade has benefited both teams providing the Thunder with a wing defender, and the 76ers with a solid stretch 4.
It was pretty dead on the trade front until the start of February when things began to heat up around the league. Milwaukee Bucks center, Miles Plumlee, was dealt to the Charlotte Hornets for center Roy Hibbert and forward Spencer Hawes.
Miles was not the only Plumlee to get traded, his brother Mason Plumlee, center for the Portland Trailblazers along with a 2nd round pick, were sent to the Denver Nuggets for center Jusuf Nurkic and a first round pick.
Plumlee will be a solid backup big for the Nuggets, while Nurkic showed promise as a starting center before being overshadowed by Nuggets teammate and rising star Nikola “The Joker” Jokic.
The first big splash of the season was the trade by the Toronto Raptors to land power forward Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic for small forward Terrence Ross and a first round pick. The Raptors who are currently sitting with fourth best record in the Eastern Conference made this deal to hopefully close the gap between them and the Eastern Conference favorite Cleveland Cavaliers.
Speaking of the Cavaliers they traded center Chris “Birdman” Anderson to the Charlotte Hornets for a second round pick. The Cavs most likely made this move to open up a roster spot and possibly sign another playmaker.
The biggest trade of the season, at least biggest name, happened right after the all-star game. Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi were dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans for guard Buddy Hield, guard Tyreke Evans, and a first and second round draft pick. This deal will pair two of the league’s best big men together, Cousins and Anthony Davis.
There have been discussions between the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons, possibly trading Pistons guard Reggie Jackson for Magic forward Jeff Green and guard D.J. Augustin.
So who are the trade targets going into the deadline?
Realistic Targets: Phoenix Suns small forward P.J. Tucker can help teams as a wing defender. Next up, guard Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Lakers, he can definitely help bolster a playoff contenders bench. Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut is a solid rim protector and can set screens like nobody else in the league, but do not ask him to score. Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad is similar to Williams as a bench scorer, but can also defend a little and he is a bit younger. Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafur is a talented scorer in the post, and has had suitors already, the Bulls and the Celtics.
Out of Reach: New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has been linked to the Cavaliers, Clippers, and even the Celtics. But he is out of reach mainly due to his massive salary. Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, solid big man with skills in the post, but will likely have a huge price tag that no one will pay. Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler is a name that has been linked to the Boston Celtics, but unless the Bulls are thinking about a complete rebuild, it is unlikely Butler is moved.
Other names to look for at the trade deadline: PG Brandon Knight, SF Luol Deng, SF Danilo Gallinari, PF Kenneth Faried, SF Wilson Chandler, SF Bojan Bogdanovic, PF/C Nerlens Noel, PG Rajon Rondo, PF Nikola Mirotic, PG Derrick Rose, PG Ricky Rubio, PG Deron Williams.